School details, locations and catchment areas
Some schools have a set 'catchment area'. This is usually the area that surrounds the school and where most children who go to the school live. Church schools usually base their catchment areas on parish boundaries. This means they can cover a wider area than other schools and may overlap with other school catchment areas.
But the law doesn't allow schools to keep places just for children who live in the catchment area. This means that:
- living in a school's catchment area does not guarantee a place at the school
- children who don't live in the catchment area may get a place
If a school is not oversubscribed, you will get a place whether or not you live in the catchment area.
But if a school is oversubscribed, you may get a higher priority for a place if you live in the catchment area. This is because most schools include catchment area as one of the criteria in their admissions policy.
The situation varies from year to year at each school. If your preferred school's admissions policy includes catchment area as a criteria, you can check last year's school place allocation reports to see whether all children in the schools' catchment areas got places.
Catchment areas and maps
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Page last reviewed: 20 September 2022
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